New Radar is a “Can’t Miss” on Manus

Published: 24 May 2011

Resting atop a 60-foot tower, the new radar's antenna is visible above the treetops from most vantage points on Manus Island and is clearly a show of progress for climate research in the tropics.
From both a data and visual perspective, the brand new C-band scanning ARM precipitation radar (C-SAPR) makes quite an impression. With its antenna towering over Manus Island after installation in April, the C-SAPR will be the first operational precipitation radar in this part of the tropical Western Pacific following operations and acceptance testing in the coming months. Built by Advanced Radar Corporation (ARC) in Boulder, Colo., the radar’s dual-polarization Doppler capability will deliver unprecedented 3D data for climate researchers to provide accurate rainfall estimates; classify precipitation types such as rain, hail, and sleet; and map wind fields.

To prepare for the arrival of the radar, three cargo containers full of premixed concrete, and another container with mixers, a bobcat with backhoe and auger, fencing materials, electrical cable, and power tools were shipped to Papua New Guinea from Australia. Because of the extreme weight, the unloading required special sideloaders brought in from Lae, PNG.

Concrete footings and electrical power were installed in December and January by AB Associates, a U.S. construction contractor from Pagosa Springs, Colo. The subsequent tower and radar installation required the leasing of a dedicated barge to ship all the equipment from the PNG mainland, as well as a 100-foot reach crane.

“The construction project was a big deal on Manus; it attracted a lot of attention,” said Larry Jones, site manager for ARM’s Tropical Western Pacific locale. “The PNG National Weather Service and Australian Bureau of Meteorology, as well as the local Manus people, provided excellent support throughout the process,” he added.

For more images of the radar on Manus and other new instruments purchased through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and installed at ARM’s tropical sites, visit Flickr.